A Pastoral Letter from the SEC

120910aDear Brothers and Sisters in Lent Madness,

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,” as Paul of Tarsus said before he was ignominiously defeated by Emma of Hawaii in Lent Madness 2012.

As you know from breathlessly following Lent Madness on Facebook and Twitter (using hashtag #SECconclave), the Supreme Executive Committee has been prayerfully discerning the 2016 bracket throughout the day. Much coffee was consumed. And then more coffee was consumed.

We realize that many of you find it unbearable to endure the wait until All Brackets’ Day (November 3), when the 2016 bracket is released to the entire world. The SEC hears the plaintive cry of the Lent Madness faithful, and we assure you of our constant concern during this wilderness time. Though not so much as to provide even a hint about the content of the aforementioned 2016 bracket.

Of course, to keep things in perspective, it could always be worse. You could contract leprosy — although that wouldn’t be so bad either, since you would be able to meet Damien of Molokai (defeated in the first round of Lent Madness 2013) while experiencing an all-expenses-paid (not by us) trip to Hawaii.

Nonetheless, the SEC, in our beneficent magnanimity and unsurpassed compassion hereby offer the follow coping strategies:

  1. Set up a shrine to the SEC in a corner of your living room, complete with do-it-yourself bobbleheads, 100% beeswax candles, and rosaries made out of coffee beans.
  2. Re-live the glory of previous Lent Madness competitions by trolling around this website.
  3. Dress up as your favorite saints. All the time. Don’t mind your co-workers and friends — they’ll find it “charming.”03bb7de02a052656eaf0b202933565e5
  4. Dye your neighbor’s cat purple.
  5. Stage paparazzi photo ops with your favorite Celebrity Bloggers.
  6. Binge-watch Monday Madness on Lent Madness TV, preferably on a brand-new purple television.
  7. Visit www.lentmadness.org every hour to stare at the Countdown Clock (195 days to LM 2016) and continually reload the page, just in case.
  8. Start making out your list of friends and neighbors for whom you will buy a Saintly Scorecard or bracket poster and generally cajole and hen peck until they, too, come to love Lent Madness as much as you do.
  9. Drink (responsibly!) out of a Lent Madness Francis of Assisi mug or Brigid of Kildare pint glass.
  10. Go into your church and change all the hangings to purple so everyone remembers that Lent Madness is coming. We call this “Lent Madness Advent in July.”

Remember, we are with you in spirit as you ponder in your heart (like Mary, who will never be in Lent Madness) the official start of Lent Madness 2016 on Ash Thursday, February 11, 2016.

Sent this day by our respective hands and sealed by digital wax,

Tim & Scott

Please Note: This Pastoral Letter is to be read from every pulpit in all of Christendom this coming Sunday. If necessary, go ahead and step into the pulpit just after the sermon. Your clergy will thank you. And make sure you read this with feeling, not in a monotone as if Jesus’ saints bore you.

46 Comments to "A Pastoral Letter from the SEC"

  1. Julie's Gravatar Julie
    July 30, 2015 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    You guys are a little bit crazy. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

  2. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    July 30, 2015 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Julie. I think that about covers it.

  3. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    July 30, 2015 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    So this was great reading and lots of fun right up until I got to the part about 195 days left until 2016 LM. That’s when I lost it. Am now ordering tinted contact lenses in a nice shade of purple. Luckily my rector is an LM fan so he will be nonplussed but not angry when I invade his pulpit on Sunday.

    • Eileen Fisher's Gravatar Eileen Fisher
      July 31, 2015 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

      How about purple tights when the weather gets cooler, if that ever happens? Less expensive than purple contact lenses and would still attract a lot of attention which would give you the opportunity to recruit other followers. And add purple sunglasses to that. You’ll feel all Lent-ish and like you’re back in the 60’s. And a floppy purple hat and people will stand at least 10 feet away from you unless you are in church. And a sash that says “Lent Madness” on it. Eliminate any or all of the above if you think they’re over the top. Just trying to help. I will look for purple beads myself to go with a purple top. Will not buy a purple skirt; I have my limits. There are endless purple possibilities out there.

      • Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
        July 31, 2015 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

        You nailed it, Eileen. As usual. I am putting on my purple-colored sunglasses right now and looking at the world from a LM and SEC point of view! But I still don’t want to wait 195 days.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          July 31, 2015 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

          The sky outside my window is looking very purple. You SEC are very good. Maybe there’ll be a purple moon tonight instead of a blue one.

      • Julie's Gravatar Julie
        July 31, 2015 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

        I think a purple cilice would be more appropriate.

      • Lea's Gravatar Lea
        August 2, 2015 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

        I already have a purple skirt. And top. And beads and earrings. With purse and hat. I think we have it covered.

  4. Cynthia's Gravatar Cynthia
    July 30, 2015 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the brief interlude in trying to make sense of David, Bathsheba and bread of life.

  5. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    July 30, 2015 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I accidentally dyed my own cat purple, and he isn’t happy. I’m sending him to you this afternoon via UPS – Utterly Pi**ed domestic Short-hair. (Whew! It was hard to come up with that acronym!)

  6. geri shirk's Gravatar geri shirk
    July 30, 2015 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    now I like this site your crazy I resemble that

  7. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    July 30, 2015 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    There’s name for folks like you — Tease

  8. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    July 30, 2015 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, Frere Madcaps…..how refreshing a message you send out in the hinterlands for the Mad Faithful Followers to peruse as we chomp at the bit feverishly awaiting November to peruse the slate for the 2016 festivities. So happy to be back in the loop…..I’m so happy to be anywhere if you really wanna know…and even if you don’t ! Welcome back, SEC !!!! You’ve made my day ! Tell Lady Jane that the retired Deacon says “Howdy !”

  9. Bindy Snyder's Gravatar Bindy Snyder
    July 30, 2015 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Constance and Her Companions, please include!

    • Margaret Ittel Helminska's Gravatar Margaret Ittel Helminska
      July 30, 2015 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It made me laugh out loud to picture myself walking up into the pulpit after the conclusion of the sermon (and after the exit of the preaching clergy) to read your Pastoral Letter aloud to the congregation. Ha — I’m tempted!

  10. Steve Carlson's Gravatar Steve Carlson
    July 30, 2015 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    perhaps going over the top?

  11. Sandra Montes's Gravatar Sandra Montes
    July 30, 2015 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I dyed my own hair purple! #1 fan here! I’ll read this letter as is and hope none of our Spanish-only parishioners get lost. #watitingpatientlyforLocuraCuaresmal

  12. Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
    July 30, 2015 - 5:46 pm | Permalink

    @Cheryle — How in the world does one “accidentally” dye a cat purple (or any other color)? I assume you’ve apologized profusely, for all the good that would do, and I trust you will have a speedy recovery from whatever injuries he managed to inflict and hope that not too many stitches were required.

  13. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    July 30, 2015 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I miss Oliver

    • Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
      July 30, 2015 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Me, too!

  14. Alec clement's Gravatar Alec clement
    July 30, 2015 - 6:57 pm | Permalink

    My cat is already purple..what do I do?

  15. Vicki Hesse's Gravatar Vicki Hesse
    July 30, 2015 - 8:09 pm | Permalink

    best. sermon. ever.

  16. george barnette's Gravatar george barnette
    July 30, 2015 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Is this the year you finally include St Spreservous?

    • A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
      July 30, 2015 - 11:10 pm | Permalink


  17. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    July 30, 2015 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Please consider, all-mighty SEC, St. Agnes. She gave her life for her faith, and those of us who went to St. Agnes School, a Virginia Diocesan School, in Alexandria, VA, are true and faithful Sister Lambs. We would love to see our Beloved St. Agnes in the running for Lent Madness 2016.

  18. Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
    July 30, 2015 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Unless authorized by my bishop I fear that a reading of your pastoral letter might subject me to discipline under Title IV (or at least a litany of anonymous complaints sent to my senior warden and shared aloud at the next vestry meeting).

  19. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    July 30, 2015 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    a purple ferret might e a nice touch

  20. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    July 30, 2015 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I was laughing all the way until the idea of changing all the church hangings to purple came up and suddenly I really thought it might work – perhaps the whole church would believe that we passed over into lent in the middle of the summer – it is possible isn’t it. Then I am not sure why the pastoral letter has to be read after the sermon – who needs a sermon with a pastoral letter such as this……… Just my thoughts.

  21. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    July 30, 2015 - 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Is the SEC tech support team working on a like function for the comments section? This would be a popular feature for the Lent Madness faithful. There are still 195 days!

    • Karen J's Gravatar Karen J
      July 31, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with you, Carol. In fact, I was looking for the “like” button as soon as I finished reading your comment!

  22. Marlayna Maynard's Gravatar Marlayna Maynard
    July 31, 2015 - 12:41 am | Permalink

    You know, my cat is white and would take purple dye well, I am sure. Physically, not psychologically.

  23. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    July 31, 2015 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I want a “Like” button on Comments this time around. Please?

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      July 31, 2015 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I’d like a “Don’t Like” button for the “Like” ideas. Not all of the world is infected with “social media disease”.

  24. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    July 31, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’ve got no. 9 covered; I love my Brigid pint.

  25. Susan Mattingly's Gravatar Susan Mattingly
    July 31, 2015 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I too would like a “like” button for comments. Thank you for all that you do to keep us inspired !

  26. July 31, 2015 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    “SEC”? The Securities and Exchange Commission is involved with Lent Madness? I knew there was something shady about the voting procedure.

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      July 31, 2015 - 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I also always think of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Apparently other people think it has something to do with sportsball.

  27. Georgia's Gravatar Georgia
    July 31, 2015 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

    deliciously and devilishly letter!! Am waiting with bated breath for Lent. Maybe you could give us a sneak preview!

  28. Margaret in Maine's Gravatar Margaret in Maine
    July 31, 2015 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I was this very day despairing of finding any meaning in life and God revealed it to me in your pastoral letter. I’ll put the noose away and pull out my now purple dog to enjoy the wait until Nov 3. Bless you.

  29. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    August 1, 2015 - 7:49 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful surprise for our rector as he leaves for vacation this week, seeing the church in all purple paraments. We will not announce the real reason until after his departure. We will just tell him this was done to remind him to have a glorious vacation. Should I start looking into a new church home now?

  30. Elaine Ann Snider's Gravatar Elaine Ann Snider
    August 1, 2015 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Surely the SEC needs an Altar Guild adjunct to help with the hangings, etc.

  31. Noreen Ramsden's Gravatar Noreen Ramsden
    August 1, 2015 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I hope there will be more African saints in 1916! Our Archbishop Emiritus Desmond Tutu is very saintly!

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      August 3, 2015 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I’d vote for him any day!

  32. Patricia Nakamura's Gravatar Patricia Nakamura
    August 3, 2015 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I never saw a purple cat
    I never hope to see one
    But I’d rather see an entire field full of purple cows than douse my Seamus in hot
    purple suds so he’d Be one!

  33. Pleasants Tinkler's Gravatar Pleasants Tinkler
    August 6, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    If interested, am willing to share experience as 7/8 yr old child taking bd parties to active island leper colony in Dominican Republic. Still very vivid faith experience (the boat ride, making friends, asking nuns about contagion, praying for the colony. I am now in my mid-70’s. Faithfully, Pleasants

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